Re: The Tipping Point

From: Wade T.Smith (
Date: Tue Apr 17 2001 - 14:33:55 BST

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    Subject: Re: The Tipping Point
    Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 09:33:55 -0400
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    Responding to myself (not a real habit....)-

    >Bringing all explanations, levels, and causes together
    >is the want of consilience, since scientific perspective is 360.

    I see this in today's science section....


    This theory is nuts

    If you open up a can of mixed nuts, it's more than likely that you'll
    find the Brazil nuts on the top. The conventional wisdom is that repeated
    jostling of the can lets smaller nuts slip into local ''holes,'' leaving
    the Brazil nuts on top. But now a more complete picture is emerging,
    thanks to Daniel Hong and his colleagues at Lehigh University. Much as
    one can think of a material's temperature as corresponding to the average
    thermal motion of its molecules, it also makes sense to think of a
    shaking can of nuts as having a certain temperature based on how hard
    it's shaken. Hong and his colleagues have shown that different sized nuts
    will have different critical temperatures that decide whether they will
    flow freely like a liquid, or set like a solid. In the case of a can of
    nuts, the separation of the Brazil nuts corresponds to a sort of freezing
    out, much like ice coming out of water and floating on top. The novelty
    in this work is that it also predicts the conditions under which
    something like a denser Brazil nut would sink to the bottom of the can.
    This research is far from academic as control of how granular substances
    mix is at the basis of all sorts of industries from fertilizer and drug
    manufacturing to breakfast cereal and nut packaging.

    ref: Physical Review Letters, April 9.


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